Sunday Dec. 22, 2013
Brewer Yacht Haven
Winter sailing Long Island Sound. We beat into a south wind all day. It was hard to make any decent speed.
We wanted to get to Mamaroneck, NY. Besides being a flagship marina of the Brewer fleet, and the first Brewer’s yard, it’s also located at a charming town full of good food. And Mamaroneck would be a good starting point for the trip through New York City. But we knew we couldn’t manage that many miles with the headwinds we had. So we shot for Stamford instead.
We were able to sail comfortably early in the day. But the wind and waves were awful as the afternoon wore on. We kept the sails up for stability and in hopes they’d give a boost of speed. We took a lot of spray over the bow and I couldn’t keep my phone, which we use for backup navigation, dry. Even in its waterproof case it would not work right. I need a new case, and we need an iPad in a LifeProof case, for redundancy you understand. Anyway, I had to go below with it and pop up and down in the companionway to help Tom navigate. Mostly I used slips of paper and marked our coordinates on the chart, I had a wad of coordinate slips in my pocket at the end of the day.
It got dark before we reached Stamford. We were looking for a lighted buoy that marked The Cows, a set of underwater rocks that we did not want to encounter. The wind that kicked up fierce just as darkness fell produced steep, close together chop. We dropped the sails in a maelstrom.
We never did see the flashing light marking The Cows. Instead we entered the harbor by following Navionics on my phone, with our hair standing on end. I finally sighted The Cows buoy ghosting by in the darkness, unlighted. Thanks a lot, whoever maintains buoy lights. But we made it, using my phone like a joy stick I told Tom “steer to port,” “steer to starboard,” around rocks, seawalls, an anchored barge, more rocks and a very narrow channel. Relieved to be in port we found Brewer Yacht Haven marina and grabbed the first lighted slip. Thought windy, the day certainly wasn’t cold. It was 61 degrees when we docked at 7 PM.
In the morning we found out that we were in the wrong slip, but we didn’t care and there was no one there to complain about our mistake.
Read the whole story of our Escape from New England
Long Island Sound
New Jersey Coast